Subjugated Status of Muslim Women in Afghanistan with Reference to Khalid Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’

Tania Shaikh, Dr. Komal Ansari, Dr. Rafique Ahmed Memon


This study examines the status of women in the Islamic world, particularly Afghanistan with reference to Khalid Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ through application of feminist literary criticism. Through close reading analysis method, the qualitative study intends to unfold different forms of gender discrimination and the response of women to such oppression. The study uncovers the fact that though Islam has assured the rights of women, but still Islamic world is juggling in gender politics. The findings of the study reveal that women, within the aforementioned novel, are represented as performing stereotypical traditional roles such as caretakers and mothers. They are subjected to different forms of gender subjugation as physical and psychological violence, sexual abuse, forceful marriages, preference to have sons, ill healthcare facilities, marginalization from education and limited mobility. The novel also shows women’s responses to such inequalities; acceptance and resistance. Nana (character) accepts her subjugation as her fate. She defenselessly bears without challenging because of her educational deprivation which never grants her courage to stand for her rights. While Mariam and Laila defend for their rights because of Laila’s educational spirit that enables them to realize their worth and dignity. The thorough understanding of the text illustrates the positive role of education that strengthens women to raise their voice against established patriarchal system.

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The Women - Annual Research Journal of Gender Studies is published annually by the Institute of Gender Studies, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Pakistan.